Phillips works Essex to second win
Essex 155 for 6 (ten Doeschate 38; Rayner 2-16) beat Middlesex 149 for 9 (Rayner 39*, Berg 39; Phillips 3-27) by six runs
Essex beat Middlesex by six runs in their Friends Life t20 South Group match at Lord's, the hosts falling just short with 149 for 9 in their pursuit of 156.
Middlesex made a wretched start, losing half their wickets in the first nine overs with just 36 runs on the board. Only Adam Rossington offered any resistance as slow left-armer Tim Phillips, the competition's leading bowler in 2011, removed both openers in his first two overs while Dawid Malan and Neil Dexter also fell to single-figure scores.
Rossington struck out, though, hitting a six and two fours. But, having scored 22, he played down the wrong line to give David Masters a wicket.
Gareth Berg included a few rustic swipes amongst more conventional strokeplay in a combative innings but, having reached 39 from 36 balls, he became a third victim for Phillips and a second catch for wicketkeeper James Foster. However, Steven Crook and Ollie Rayner offered belated hope for the home team as the rain started, with an array of aggressive shots and a stand of 49 in five overs.
At the start of the final over, 18 were needed with three wickets intact but Crook, on 22, then holed out to deep cover off the bowling of Greg Smith while Toby Roland-Jones was run out off the final delivery, leaving the plucky Rayner 39 not out from 21 balls.
Having won the toss, Essex got off to a brisk start with their opening pair of Mark Pettini and James Franklin posting 46 in seven overs before spinner Rayner accounted for both batsmen. Ryan ten Doeschate then took a shine to the bowling of Tom Smith, despatching the slow left-armer for three sixes in two overs. However, those proved to be the only boundaries for ten Doeschate, who scored 38 from 27 balls before being pinned on the crease by Dexter.
That was to prove the top score in the Essex innings but it was left to Graham Napier to provide the most entertaining contribution with a cameo 28. Having taken a look at the first delivery, he then blasted 22 off the next five balls with one six and four fours - 19 coming off Dexter.